Considered as one of the largest gathering in a religious event, the last mass of Pope Francis during his 5-day papal visit to the Philippines was attended by 6 million Catholics. It was raining the whole day, but it did not stop people from wanting to see the Pope in person and from attending the Papal mass. Kids, youth, and adults were chanting “Lolo Kiko!” and “Pope Francis, we love you!” most of the time while waiting for the Pope. Since it was also the feast of Sto. Niño, devotees brought their Sto. Niño figures of all sizes, hoping for their icons to be blessed by Pope Francis. Catholics from all walks of life, from passionate devotees to simple admirers of the Pope, gathered to welcome and to express gratitude to their Lolo Kiko.
The crowd use makeshift shades and raincoats while waiting for the Holy Father. Photo by: Bart Manoguid
Families wait for Pope Franics’s arrival. Photo by: Bart Manoguid
I did not expect the number of people who went to Luneta during Pope Francis’s final mass in the country. I can only compare the number of people who attended the last mass to the number of people who attended the annual Feast of the Black Nazarene, but I think this time the crowd was a lot thicker. Though not allowed by the security officers, some devotees camped out at Rizal Park a day before the Pope’s mass just to have a better view once the Holy Father arrives.
A man uses a plastic cover as raincoat during Pope Francis’s mass in Luneta. Photo by: Bart Manoguid